The Lost City

Review by Rich Cline | 3.5/5

The Lost City
dir Aaron Nee, Adam Nee
scr Oren Uziel, Dana Fox, Aaron Nee, Adam Nee
prd Liza Chasin, Sandra Bullock, Seth Gordon
with Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Brad Pitt, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Oscar Nunez, Patti Harrison, Bowen Yang, Hector Anibal, Thomas Forbes-Johnson, Joan Pringle, Sli Lewis
release US 25.Mar.22,
UK 15.Apr.22
22/US Paramount 1h52

radcliffe pitt randolph

Is it streaming?

bullock and tatum
While this romantic-comedy adventure is continuously amusing, it never quite transforms into the satisfying raucousness we're hoping for. Still, it's an enjoyable mix of nutty gags, bonkers action and cute interaction, and it even grapples with a few solid themes along the way. Directors Aaron and Adam Nee make terrific use of jungle locations, and the superbly engaging Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum dive into the physicality without hesitation.
Still grieving after her archaeologist husband's death five years ago, Loretta (Bullock) knows her latest romance novel isn't up to scratch. And her publisher Beth (Randolph) has sent her on a book tour alongside beefcake cover-model Alan (Tatum). Then greedy billionaire Fairfax (Radcliffe) kidnaps Loretta, thinking her book holds the key to finding the mythical Crown of Fire in the Lost City of D. Determined to rescue her, Alan follows them to an isolated island, where he teams up with mercenary Jack (Pitt), a real-life version of the action hero Alan only pretends to be.
Within the Indiana Jones meets Romancing the Stone approach, everything about this movie is so relentlessly stupid that it can't help but win us over. Each scene bristles with broad goofiness, subtle wit and outrageously camp excesses, while there's enough danger to maintain a whiff of suspense. The film's pacing may feel a bit uneven, and the action sequences are well-choreographed but choppily shot and edited, but the generally ridiculous tone sustains itself from start to finish, mainly due to the cast's fearlessness.

As usual, Bullock and Tatum thrive in the slapstick idiocy, from Loretta's absurd pink-sequined jumpsuit to Alan's hilariously luxuriant wigs and constantly discarded shirts. Their performances are more nuanced than expected, playing on the story's recurring theme about misleading first impressions. Bullock makes Loretta wounded but tough, while Tatum gives Alan a remarkable soulfulness. Everyone else provides additional comical relief, while Pitt, Radcliffe and Randolph are generously allowed to steal scenes.

Not smart enough to be a classic, there's plenty a guilty pleasure as Loretta and Alan repeatedly clash and soften toward each other while fending off the obsessively crazed Fairfax. So it's surprising when underlying ideas make it occasionally meaningful as well. Loretta struggles to face the future without the person she planned it with, then learns to write her own story, which offers emotional resonance along with the cute romcom gyrations. And of course everyone has a lot of fun as they learn not to judge a book by its cover.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 17.Mar.22

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© 2022 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall